The Railway Cup was an annual tournament that brought together the games very best in both hurling and football that saw the Provinces compete against one another.
The competition was a huge attraction in the 20th century but declined during the 00’s and 10’s with the last tournament taking place in 2016.
Connacht cited fixture congestion and lack of spectator interest as reasons for them pulling out in 2017 which lead the others to follow suit.
Yet, it is interesting to consider who would win the competition if it was to be played again.
Below I will select my Munster Hurling XV if the Railway Cup was to return in 2020.
In the interest of fairness, each of the five Munster championship sides, Limerick, Tipperary, Clare, Cork and Waterford will all have three players selected in the XV.
There are a number of notable exclusions, including current Hurler of the Year due to the above restriction but the below team is still laden in top class players.
1.Stephen O’Keeffe (Waterford)
O’Keeffe was All-Star goalie in 2017 and has been pivotal in Ballygunner’s six-in-a-row Waterford titles.
2. Sean Finn (Limerick)
Simply put, the best corner back in the game, back-to-back All-Star winner and one of the first names on the team.
3. David McInerney (Clare)
McInerney has played in various positions for Clare and has excelled at midfield in this years League, but his best form for Clare came at full back when he was awarded an All-Star there in 2013.
4. Cathal Barrett (Tipperary)
If Finn is the best corner back in the country, Barrett is a very close second. One of the key reasons for Tipp’s upturn in fortune for the 2019 season.
5. Brendan Maher (Tipperary)
Was the best player in Ireland throughout 2019 between club and county. Can play anywhere and a must have in any XV.
6. Declan Hannon (Limerick)
Iit’s no surprise that Hannon’s move to centre-back coincided with Limerick’s upturn in fortunes. The quarterback on Kiely’s side. The best at what he does in the country.
7. Mark Coleman (Cork)
The young Blarney defender has taken to the intercounty scene with ease since his debut in 2017. Nominated for young hurler of the year in first two seasons. A class act at wing-back.
8. Jamie Barron
Was the nation’s standout player in 2017, but has struggled as Waterford have gone two years without a championship victory. On his day is a match for anyone with all the components you would want from a midfielder.
9. Noel McGrath
Should have been Hurler of the Year, his influence on the Tipperary machine was second to none. A masterstroke by Liam Sheedy to put him at midfield.
10. Seamus Harnedy
Harnedy is criminally underrated across the country. He has been Cork’s most consistent player since he burst onto the scene in 2013. Could well have a Celtic Cross medal had he not fallen injured against Limerick in 2018.
11. Tony Kelly
Kelly has probably suffered as Clare have in recent years but his 2013 campaign at just 19 was mesmerizing. Looked to be back to his best in the League this year notching 0-51 in five games.
12. John Conlon
While he is more accustomed to the full forward berth, Conlon is equally adept on the wing where he was an All-Ireland winner in 2013. Superb ball winner with an eye for a score.
13. Aaron Gillane
Has blossomed into one of the finest forward in the country. Can win it anyway and is Limerick’s No.1 target on each attack.
14. Stephen Bennett
Lit it up at minor winning an All-Ireland but took his time to adapt to intercounty. Over the past 18 months he has taken his game to another level notching 3-7 from play in the league this Spring.
15. Pat Horgan
The country’s premier marksman, Horgan is one of the greatest ever not to in a Celtic Cross medal. Yet, as a hurler of the year nominee last year, Horgan is as good as ever and if Cork are to end the famine, the Glen Rovers man will be central to that.
Cian Lynch, William O’Donoghue & Graeme Mulcahy (Limerick), Seamus Callanan & Paudie Maher (Tipperary), Bill Cooper & Darragh Fitzgibbon (Cork), Jack Browne & Shane O’Donnell (Clare), Kevin Moran & Austin Gleeson (Waterford)
Team In Full